SWAN - The Social Work Action Network

Welcome to SWAN's website. Please check out features such as the SWAN regional webpages and previous conference resources. You can join SWAN here. Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter and keep abreast of developments for the 2014 SWAN Conference.

SWAN is a network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions.

SWAN promotes a model of social work and social care practice which is rooted in the value of social justice. This model seeks to advocate alongside, and on behalf of, service users and carers. It values both individual relationship-based practice and collective approaches.

It works towards these objectives through regular conferences and campaigning activities, and to strengthen the radical voice within social work practice, education and wider social policy debates.

SWAN works alongside existing social care, service user and carer organisations, including UNISON and Unite, to promote strong collective organisation and, wherever possible, to campaign jointly.

SWAN is a membership organisation - please join us by following the instructions here.

Deloitte, the multi-national tax avoidance specialists, have been given a high profile teaching role http://bit.ly/1x2AJrZ on the Frontline’s fast track into social work five week summer school that came to a self-congratulatory end last week, writes Simon Cardy of SWAN West Midlands.


There is growing support for SWAN's Mental Health Charter (please see attachments below), which was launched at this year's SWAN National Conference in Durham this April, with a London event in November. A list of around 300 signatories to the charter follows this article. To add your name or your organisation's name to this list please email jeremy.weinstein [at] tiscali.co.uk


Ruskin College, Oxford is pleased to announce a Social Work Action Network (SWAN) event - 'The Crisis in Mental Health Services' - which will take place on Saturday 28th June 2014.

The crisis in mental health services has become so acute that even the government has had to acknowledge the scale of the problem. Welfare services, which service users and carers rely on are being drastically cut as a result of the politics of austerity and the government’s benefits ‘reforms’ are forcing more and more people into poverty. Meanwhile the gap between the richest and poorest in society is continuing to expand. Practitioners are forced to struggle with high caseloads, reduced resources and a target culture, which is underpinned by market ideology and privatisation.


More Articles...

  1. Barnet struggle for services and Care UK strike
  2. SWAN Mental Health Charter launched
  3. Motions for SWAN Conf 2014
  4. Documents for SWAN Conference 2014
  5. Le Grand review - the marketisation and outsourcing of children’s social care is the aim
  6. Underfunded safeguarding services leaves unidentified children at risk
  7. In defence of social work: Why Gove is wrong
  8. Call for papers extended - Conf 2014
  9. Booking open for SWAN Conference 2014
  10. The lost year - Safeguarding Birmingham's children
  11. Los Angeles County Social Workers on strike for lower caseloads
  12. A response to Michael Gove: wrong on social work education
  13. Help stop payday loan rip-offs
  14. The New Philanthropy – Frontline and the lessons of Teachfirst
  15. SWAN Ireland 1st Annual Conference!



SWAN is a democratic, grassroots organisation – policy making and elections take place at the AGM during the annual conference’

Social Work Manifesto.

Social work in Britain today has lost direction. We need to find more effective ways of resisting the dominant trends within social work and map ways forward for a new engaged practice…

Get involved.


SWAN developed from the Social Work Manifesto written in 2004. It launched a popular defence of social work in the aftermath of the Baby Peter tragedy in 2008. It continues to hold successful conferences and campaigns; the 9th national SWAN conference will be held in Durham in April 2014.

SWAN is a membership organisation and we are dependent on the funds of members, plus what monies we take from our annual conference to run the organisation. You can find out about membership here.

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Change the course of social work


The next SWAN national conference is the eighth. It takes place at Durham University on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April 2014. We will regularly update the SWAN website with information about speakers and booking. You can find these pages in the Conference 2014 section. Please email SWAN North East at ioakimides [at] googlemail.com if you have questions about the conference.

The title of the 2014 SWAN Conference is yet to be confirmed. This is the first time that a national SWAN conference has been held in the North East of England and we hope it will be the biggest ever SWAN event. It will link up social workers (in practice, education, research and training), service users and carers, trade unions, user-led groups, anti-cuts organisations, pressure groups, the disabled people and women's movements to unite to defeat the Coalition Government's social policy direction. Just as importantly we will debate, promote and celebrate alternative models and visions of social care.

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SWAN address & email

Social Work Action Network (SWAN)
c/o Iain Ferguson
School of Social Science
University of the West of Scotland

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